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Tuesday, 23 September 2014

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Ashes of Workington Reds legend scattered at Borough Park

The ashes of legendary Workington Reds winger Johnny Martin have been scattered at the football club’s stadium.

Johnny Martin photo
Johnny Martin

Mr Martin, who referred to himself as a poor man’s George Best, enjoyed two spells in west Cumbria during the 1960s and 1970s, making 247 appearances and scoring 34 goals.

The 66-year-old died last November after suffering a heart attack.

His daughters Clare Shilton and Jackie Goldstraw led 13 friends and family at a short memorial for their dad ahead of the 1-0 win over Boston.

Mrs Shilton, who was born in Cockermouth, said: “Saying goodbye to my dad was harder than I thought. It was emotional.

“But Workington was a place he loved. Dad played for a few teams and lived abroad, but Workington was his home.

“It was nice that fans turned up to pay their respects. Hearing them applaud the ashes scattering was a proud moment.”

Mr Martin’s family also brought some of his memorabilia, including the contracts he signed at Workington, photographs and press cuttings from his playing days.

Mr Martin was given five years to live when diagnosed with leukaemia in 2006, but was winning the battle when he was confronted by a burglar in his Tenerife home.

Details of the altercation are not known, but it is believed Mr Martin was hit, leading to a heart attack.

Mr Martin’s other children John and Kerry were unable to attend.

Speaking in 2009, Mr Martin said he had never forgotten the chants of “We’ve got Johnny, Johnny Martin on the wing, on the wing”.

Mr Martin had a great rapport with Reds fans, and was known to many as the Crown Prince of Borough Park.

He said: “There was one game I ran down the wing, beat a man before going over to the sideline to down a pint while play was stopped, and just carried on.

“That was me. I was a showman. You could call me a poor man’s George Best and you would be right.

“I didn’t care about playing for England, I know I had the ability but I just wanted to enjoy playing football.”

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